Marijuana Should Be Allowed as PTSD Therapy

Article excerpt

Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Alan Cohn and Brian Michaels

In Oregon we are at a political crossroads concerning the politics of medical marijuana and the politics of supporting the nation's troops.

Many veterans returning from two wars suffer from severe physical disabilities and post-traumatic stress syndrome. PTSD sufferers are growing in number, and little treatment is available. A large percentage of those sufferers report a marked improvement in their overall quality of life and family relationships with the use of medical marijuana.

So we, as a state, are being pressed to choose between a distrust of marijuana and the support of our troops.

Whatever one's political opinion about these wars, we as a nation extend our appreciation and support to our veterans. The problem is that the American government, through the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and the National Institute on Drug Abuse, does not permit testing of marijuana for medical purposes - testing that might reveal symptomatic benefit from marijuana for medical purposes.

The federal agencies do allow and pay for testing that might reveal adverse consequences from the use of marijuana - but not for benefits. And the only supply of marijuana approved for testing is of low-quality material from a single source, not the strains that have been developed that appear to have greater medicinal potential.

For example, in April 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recognized research from the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies to evaluate whether smoked or vaporized marijuana might help reduce PTSD symptoms in 50 veterans diagnosed with PTSD but for whom conventional therapy has been unsuccessful. Six months later, the National Institute on Drug Abuse declined to accept the research.

When the science is so contaminated with politics, we need look elsewhere to address this problem. MAPS has also filed a lawsuit to allow marijuana to be obtained from a source other than the federal farms in Mississippi that produce a single strain of low-quality material.

Why not simply trust our troops when they report some improvement to their lives? PTSD is a recognized disorder, with specific identifiable symptoms to support diagnosis. …